The New York Times, in a highly controversial article, said on Sunday that high-stress blogging is costing bloggers their health, even their lives.
The article describes bloggers as “toiling under great physical and emotional stress” and states that “bloggers complain of weight loss or gain, sleep disorders, exhaustion and other maladies.”
Darren Rowse of Problogger chose a positive title for his post about the article: On Being a Healthy Blogger. He points out that people in all occupations can get stressed and suffer from ill health, but does admit that blogging has addictive properties and bloggers can pretty much spend day after day at home, in front of their computer, not venturing out much, eating junk food at their desk and not getting any exercise.
No doubt, there is a constant pressure on bloggers, and especially top bloggers, to keep producing quality content. Leo of Zen Habits recently asked his readers to be understanding as he lightens his posting schedule in an attempt to meet a book deadline. He said, “that means that you won’t see as many in-depth posts from me. However, don’t unsubscribe or go anywhere!”
Amy of Crunchy Domestic Goddess says, “I realize I haven’t had much in the way of substance on my blog so far this week, but I’ve been enjoying the warmer temps and trying to live more in the moment with my kids. I’m still working on finding that perfect balance between being mommy, working, and blogging. I haven’t figured it out yet.”
A sobering example of blogging exhaustion is that of RockstarMommy, who had a high-quality blog with a large audience and decided, out of the blue, to shut it down, explaining that “a once light-hearted hobby has turned into a chore that sucks up every last ounce of my free (and sometimes not-so-free) time, leaving my family competing with the internet for my attention and me not living REAL life and all the things I’ve always said I wanted to do with it. Some people are able to find the real life/internet balance. I’ve tried many times and have failed each and every one of them. My family is waiting for me and I’m not going to waste away our lives on this machine anymore.”
Problogger recently asked readers about their blogging mistakes. One reader comment made me do a double take. The reader said, “the biggest mistake I’ve made cost me lots of traffic and the highest ranking on Google in my niche. I didn’t pre-post content in advance just in case something came up where I couldn’t. I came down with the flu in the middle of February this year, and I didn’t post on my blog for 10 days because I was bed ridden. I can’t believe how my traffic fell off so rapidly. What a painful lesson it has been”.
When I read that comment I thought, “You may be a blogger, BUT YOU ARE A PERSON, not a robot. You are entitled to have a life – which sometimes includes vacations, and illnesses, even REST – outside of blogging.”
As a blogger for hire, I too struggle with balancing blogging with “real life.” Blogging is fun and rewarding, and most definitely addictive. But my real life must come first.
Photo credit: DBarefoot